Providing a full list of all the camper van rental companies in New Zealand, you can search through the 24 different companies to find the best prices and score the cheapest rentals. In case you're looking to buy or sell a camper van we've reached out to the backpacking community to pin down the best ways to stretch your money while traveling from A to B in New Zealand.
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How to plan and enjoy the high class vineyards in Marlborough without having to spend too much money. Taking a self-guided bike tour of Blenheim and Renwick New Zealand is the best way to experience the magic of vine to wine.
A detailed guide to mastering the steps for getting your working holiday visa, getting a New Zealand bank account, applying for an IRD number and of course the types jobs you can look forward to once you’re there.
Traveling in New Zealand doesn’t have to be overly expensive and with relocation vehicles you can travel New Zealand by car or motorhome and even cross the ferry for as little as $1 a day.
Priceless advice you need to know before backpacking long term around the world.
In 2017, we were fortunate enough to visit 13 countries, spanning 3 continents. That excitement led to more than 16,000 new photos. It is impossible to ever have "favorites", but nonetheless, here are 17 top shots of 2017. Featuring Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, France, & England.
New Zealand is charismatically and wonderfully relaxed. With the most native and rugged landscapes as a background, the people have adopted a very formative island vibe. It’s both welcoming and uniquely independent as a place on the map and the national parks are cause for an influx of thousands of tourists each month. The freedom to camp and potential for exploration makes New Zealand an incredible destination to roam. New Zealand has endless breathtaking views, hip cities, friendly locals, tons of adventure and a rich history. This is a truly a country you have to see at some point in your life. It is guaranteed to impress and leave you wanting more.
Why Travel To New Zealand?
The overwhelming answer is for the scenery. To a level of almost hilarity, the landscapes are perfect and the adventure is never ending. The oceans are clean and crisp and their national parks are captivating. The islands are a mix of agriculture and urbanization which seamlessly mix with the parks and forest. The wildlife is abundant and thriving which makes for exciting adventures and the kiwi people are friendly and welcoming. The country is open to any tourist who wants to visit and is breathtakingly beautiful 12 months a year.
The Nitty Gritty About New Zealand
4.69 million people live in New Zealand, 402,000 thousand of them live in Wellington, the capital
New Zealand has two national languages. The first is Maori and the second is English.
New Zealand has 13 national parks, eight of which are considered Great Walks that make up over 30,000 square kilometers.
The Haka, performed by the All Blacks Rugby team, is a war dance and battle cry that is a big part of Maori ceremonies and culture.
New Zealand was recently discovered to be the 8th continent of the world - It's not just an island off Australia anymore.
Auckland— Nelson — Takaka — Christchurch — Lake Tekapo — Wanaka — Queenstown — Haast — Dunedin — Blenheim — Wellington
*We spent five months working in New Zealand, traveling to nearby destinations during the weekends and then we traveled by campervan and motorhome for three weeks after we finished working. We spent the most time in the south island.
The Rugged Budget
New Zealand is expensive. It's an island so goods are imported and sold with a high tax. That being said, it is possible to travel the country as a backpacker. The key is in securing your own transportation that doubles up as accommodation and restricting your food budget to a minimum. Cooking in helps to reduce the budget. There’s a reason that backpackers travel by campervan and it’s because it’s more affordable than hostel hopping.
Flights within the islands can be relatively affordable depending on the destinations and time. Fun fact that it’s cheap to fly from Auckland, but not cheap to fly to Auckland.
(Prices calculated for the high tourist season of December — March)
$40 one way from Auckland — Christchurch
$46 one way from Christchurch — Queenstown
$131 for a one way from Queenstown— Nelson
$28 for a one way from Nelson— Wellington
Buses run anywhere from $20—$60
Inter islander Ferry = $65
6 pack of Mac’s IPA at New World = $15
24 Steinlager = $30
Bottle of descent wine at New World = $12
Beer in a pub or restaurant = $6—$10
Craft beer in a restaurant = $10— $15
Dorm bed in a decent hostel = $20— $45
New Zealand From The Scratch My Pack Lens
Helpful Hints For Traveling New Zealand
If you have the time, buy a car. Transportation is one of the more difficult aspects of traveling in New Zealand. There are plenty of opportunities to purchase a car or if your time is limited, maybe only a month or two, then renting a van is worth it. It’s a far better experience to see the country by camper van and in the long run it will pay off not having to book accommodation or buses.
Understand the Freedom Camping laws before you rent a van to avoid any fines or violations. The government take Freedom Camping quite seriously. If you have a s"Self-Contained" vehicle or van (which means it is equipped with a toilet) you can stop and camp almost anywhere. If you only have a van that has been converted and does not have the Self-Contained sticker, you can only park and camp in designated areas. The fines can be substantial. Usually $200.
Grab One is the Craigslist of New Zealand which can be beneficial when looking for cars or planning activities.
The Warehouse is a department store that sells everything from basic food to furniture with affordable prices. It is essentially the Kiwi version of Walmart.
Buying beer from the groceries stores is far cheaper than any of the bottle shops.
New World is a chain of groceries stores that has a surprisingly good selection of deli made sandwiches and wraps in their bakery. They're made fresh everyday and they’re cheaper than any of the restaurants or take away shops.
Some Fun Stuff To Keep You Busy
Hike to the geological center of New Zealand, Nelson: Free
A quick 15 minute walk to the center of NZ from Nelson town center. Take pictures with the statue and get a 360 degree view of the city.
Explore the beauty of Wharariki Beach, Takaka: Free
Explore caves, sunbathe, swim and take amazing pictures of the rock formations and playing seals in the water.
Check out the Art Museum, Christchurch: Free
A massive and really great art museum right in the center of the city.
Check out Mount John University Observatory, Lake Tekapo: Free
You can either hitchhike, rent a car or take a bus to the top of a mountain and explore the observatory and get 360 degree views of the city and the 4 lakes. Absolutely breathtaking.
Hike Mt. Roy, Wanaka: Free
The earlier in the morning you leave for this the better. This is a 4 hour hike to the top of Mt. Roy, where you will get amazing 360 degree views of the city, the lake and see a spectacular sunrise or sunset.
Explore all the activities do do around the lake, Queenstown: Free
There are loads of activities you can do on or around the lake of Queenstown. You can walk around the lake for some beautiful picture taking moments, rent a jet-ski, go on a steam boat cruise, swim, skydive, bungee jump, golf, rent a mountain bike or just relax at some of the coolest restaurants and bars in town.
Walk up the steepest street in the world, Dunedin: Free
Baldwin Street is the steepest street in the world with a gradient of 35%
Take a bike tour to the 22+ vineyards, Blenheim/Renwick: Free
A guaranteed fun day! Check out our article below for all the details on how to do this. "Vineyard Hopping in New Zealand's Wine Capital"
Walk around Cuba Street, Wellington: Free
Cuba Street is the famous hipster street in New Zealand's capital. Check out the super chill bars, enjoy some tapas and a local restaurant, visit breweries, or window shop at some of the coolest stores Wellington has to offer.
Leap off of the top of the Sky Tower, Auckland: 225NZ ($168 USD)
Take a deep breath a leap off Aucklands highest building. Plunge 192 meters at 85 kmph.
Where Did We Stay (Accommodation We Recommend)
Nelson: The Prince Albert Backpackers ($21/night)
The dorm rooms (and private rooms) are super clean, large and offer lots of natural NZ sunlight. The common kitchen is large and offers plenty of space to cook, but there is a restaurant that offers cheap backpacker meals if you would rather. There is a great bar, common area with a large tv, outside hang out area, computer room, and a bbq for you to use for free. The staff is outstanding. Oh, did I mention the free waffle breakfast?!
Nelson: The Bug Backpackers ($17/night/night)
This is another great hostel in town. Equipped with 2 kitchens, a huge backyard area to hang out, a bbq (free to use), a common area inside, and offers really comfortable beds and clean bathrooms at a reasonable price. The owner Mike is awesome and is sure to take care of you if you choose to stay here.
Queenstown: Bumbles Backpackers ($26/night)
A highly sought after hostel. Bumbles overlooks the lake and has a great common area inside with a wall of windows overlooking the water. The kitchen is large and the beds are soft, spacious and equipped with their own bathrooms. The atmosphere is contagious at this hostel as everyone who stays here wants to do something all the time. Whether it's drink, eat, or explore the city; there is always something to do.
Dunedin: Chalet Backpackers ($16/night)
We really enjoyed this quiet, small hostel. Located on the top of a hill (like most things in Dunedin) this unique hostel is a remodeled hospital from the early 1900's. A small hospital at that. It features wood floors, huge ceilings, large windows, lots of bathrooms, a big kitchen and a back patio where you can hang out in the garden.
We do not have any hostels to recommend. We had a very bad hostel (Surf & Snow Hostel). We talked to lots of people about hostels in Auckland and everyone has the same censuses: They are all overpriced and don't really offer any amenities. You even have to pay for wifi. Really do your research when looking for a place to stay in this city. You may be better off renting an Airbnb or using couchsurfing.
Itching For More Information About New Zealand?
We’ve had weeks full of excitement and some days riddled with difficulty. We’ve done our best to make it look easy, a seamless journey cross-continental, but the truth is that it’s hard work to travel. We’ve been sick, we’ve been broke, we’ve been covered in bug bites, robbed and thrown from a bus over the course of a year, but we’ve also uncovered a life time of beauty just by taking a chance.
Travel can be hard work, but it’s a life we’re truly grateful to live. We had an incredible year full of travel and now half way across the globe we’re promptly at the start of 2017— still on the road.